Most individuals have seen their dog react to their favorite music. It is actually a fairly common occurrence. With enough watching, you can almost always catch your dog grooving to a beat or rocking out to some rad tunes. So what causes this? While animal behaviorists have yet to truly figure this whole situation out, there are a lot of interesting possibilities that they have been throwing around. Everything from certain changes in a canine's ear, all the way to their bodies being hypersensitive to low frequencies! Listed below are some of the more popular ideas behind what makes this particular behavior tick.
The Root of the Behavior
All dogs have a very individualistic personality, just like we as humans do. And while it varies from animal to animal, a lot of them respond to music based on the genre! A lot of dog owners decide that it is a good idea to leave the TV or radio playing while their dog is home alone. Some animal behaviorists have theorized that this could actually be training your dog to enjoy specific types of music. This effect tends to be much more frequent when the same music is repeated. In fact, a whole online community exists dedicated to choosing the right kind of music for your dog. Some audiologists have theorized that because a dog's range of hearing is so much wider than that of humans, music can be created that actually caters to a dog's individual perceptions. In recent years, entire albums have actually been produced with the express purpose of entertaining your canine companion!
A great way to tell if your animal is actually listening to the beat is to change the tempo in the middle of a song and see what they do. If their behavior suddenly changes when the music shifts, it is a very clear indicator that they are locking in with the rhythms they can perceive. A group of scientists in 2010 actually modified this experiment to see if dogs could perceive rhythm in a visual sense. They set up a series of blue and yellow lights (the main colors that dogs can pick up) and shifted their rhythm in time with the music. Amazingly, the dogs began to show physical symptoms of perceived rhythm. Some of their tails even began to wag in time, which surprised the scientists because tail wagging tends to be an unconscious act. This was a great piece of evidence supporting the idea that your canine actually enjoys musicality.
Encouraging the Behavior
In nature, it is actually not very common for animals to be able to perceive and keep a steady rhythm. Most mammals are incapable of it, as are other species. Dolphins are a notable example, but generally speaking, dogs are in the minority as an animal that can perceive a kept beat. While this is certainly a rare ability, it is not something to discourage unless the habit becomes annoying.
Dogs can sometimes experience anxiety when confronted with certain sounds, and this is something owners really need to consider when exposing their canines to music. Harsh sounds like brass instruments can be especially unpleasant. Anything with a high treble or volume to it can really put your dog on edge, so keep those frequencies far away. Those same sounds can also permanently damage a dog’s hearing at high volumes. That's why it is so crucial to gauge your dog based on its actions. Always pay attention to the signs they are presenting you with because they’re the best judge of their comfort level.
A great solution to the issue of your dog’s sensitive hearing is doggie earmuffs. They sit comfortably on top of the head and dampen sounds by between 15 and 20 decibels.
Other Solutions and Considerations
Damage to your dog’s feet is something you really need to consider with this sort of behavior. If their dancing becomes compulsive, they can oftentimes slowly do damage to their feet. Over time, the skin on their pads will rub away and create painful sores that make it hard for your dog to walk. Remember to keep your eyes peeled for this behavior so that you can get the problem taken care of. In addition, dogs that uncontrollably dance are oftentimes given shoes to avoid this issues. They can be fitted specially for your dog based on the kind of activity he shows.
At this point, it seems pretty clear that your dog is sometimes just going to bust a move. And while this is not normally a problem, special attention should be paid to make sure they do not injure themselves in the process. But in moderation, it may be best to just let your dog do what he digs!
By a Pug lover Shane Langenfeld
Published: 02/23/2018, edited: 01/30/2020